Today, mobile self-care apps are gaining fast momentum in the world of mobility. Many telecom companies have implemented mobile self-care apps to enhance the customer experience all over the globe. Indian operators have also been providing such app based self care since the past few years.
With these apps, customers can get product/service information anywhere and anytime, check their balance info, account info, online deals and other discounts or voice/data plans that the company is offering.
Self care Application, as the name suggests, if installed on mobile, is expected to be handy in using an operator’s services without the need to call customer care numbers or visit relationship centers for any query related information. This not only benefits customers but also reduces the traffic to human handled customer service if provided properly.
So, we at TT take a look at what Indian operators are providing in the name of self care apps. We're starting with Android-based app in this article.
Launch: India's largest telco started offering its Android app on Sept 04 2012.
Downloads: As per play store data, 50 lakh and more customers have downloaded the app.
Updates: They update their app regularly when compared to others and the current app version on play store is 3.3.6.
Accessing charges: Airtel doesn't charge for accessing the ‘My Airtel’ app from normal balance or from data balance.
1. The ‘My Airtel’ app’s User Interface is clean and simple.
2. Displays balance & data balance when you open the app.
3. One can add family's Airtel numbers to track & check balance & more.
4. Those who have Airtel dth and broadband can also manage their accounts.
5. One can get exclusive offers by shaking the phone while the app is open; Airtel has partnered with mydala for these offers.
6. It also offers the option to recharge any Airtel number with some easy steps within the app.
7. Shows best offer & circles offer.
8. Adding a service request is also available.
Doesn't show last recharge.
Lacks customer care dialing feature from app.
Lacks online chat feature.
Doesn't have the feature to check data usage for a particular time or period.
No information about Airtel stores.
Does not show which pack you have activated.
Does not show about VAS packs, activations.
TT SCORE: 7/10
Launch: Vodafone has been providing app based self care since its launch on 16th April 2013.
Downloads: Play store download info shows this app has been downloaded more than 10 lakh times.
Updates: They provide rare updates to fix bugs and current app version is 4.0.0
Accessing Charges: Vodafone charges data charges to access the app. If you have any data pack then data charges would be deducted from data pack.
Shows profile details with name as filled in CAF while taking connection.
Shows circle names.
Gives users dialing customer care from app
One can add Value added services and manage the same.
Shows dedicated account information with validity.
One can find one’s balance deduction details and even call details are available.
5 Recent recharge details available to access.
Activated internet packs details and available balance also available.
User interface isn't good enough. Needs more improvement.
One has to tap the balance which shows main account balance to get bonus account details and to know about bonus cards .It’s not up to standard and lacks modification.
Homepage shows pack information in code "ROB-II2GV28R98D1G" which isn't clear.
App sometimes redirects to outside (Vodafone site's page).
If one tries to recharge, it redirects to Vodafone sites page and a desktop page appears which isn't resizable; I tried 5 inch screen but even on that, it was hard to see what's written on confirmation page and recharge details page.
No option to make a service request from app.
One can't add multiple Vodafone numbers on the same app.
TT SCORE: 5.5/10
Launch: Following Airtel and Vodafone, Reliance launched their own self care app on June 4 2013.
Downloads: They launched the app two years ago but this app hasn’t got much users; play store download counts only 5 lakh and some more people installed InstaCare on their phones.
Updates: Reliance is too lazy when it comes to updating their app. They're stuck in the old 1.1.6 version.
Accessing Charges: Reliance confirmed earlier that they won’t charge customers to access their app.
InstaCare shows last recharge details along with the plan activated on reliance number.
It also shows data balance with details.
The best part is you can check the Users info in My Profile section which shows complete details of who has purchased the sim with their address.
It has an integrated data track feature, in which one can check data usage upto last 45 Days.
You can also find nearest Reliance stores by putting pin code.
Live chat with executive is the good thing in instacare which makes the app’s name appropriate.
User Interface is too old and lacks customization.
One can’t recharge from the app because the process is too long and packs show wrong information as Reliance has not updated those pack details; I found many STV & Data Packs showing benefits of 2 years ago.
It's too slow and is not able to fetch data faster.
They're showing wrong app version in play store pag;, I have downloaded but the app’s home screen showing 1.1.5 version instead of their claims (1.1.6).
While chatting to executive on Live Chat, screen will disappear suddenly; there are so many bugs in the app.
No facility to add multiple numbers.
TT SCORE: 4.5 /10
Launch: Aircel launched their app this year on 1st April.
Downloads: Only 1 lakh users have downloaded this app so far.
Updates: Like Reliance, they are too lazy to update their app .The recent version in play store is 1.52.
Accessing Charge: The app isn't free for Aircel users; regular charges are applicable.
User Interface is clean.
Shows store details.
Recharge section has improved.
Offers are updated
Shows only main account balance.
Doesn't show data balance.
No details about activated packs.
Does not have feature to add multiple numbers.
Lacks my profile section.
No menu to dial customer care from app.
Doesn't have online chat feature.
TT SCORE: 3.5/10
My TATA DOCOMO:
Launch: TATA DOCOMO launched their app few months ago.
Downloads: Downloads reached 1 Lakh in few months.
Updates: Don't know why they don't give updates to fix bugs; log in is not possible as the app doesn’t generate OTP anymore.
The latest version is 1.3.
Accessing charges: Regular charges applicable.
You can add multiple numbers including walky & TATA DOCOMO photon.
One can manage services under my services, eg - DND , 3G ,Call waiting ,ISD , National Roaming etc.
Shows recent deductions.
Redirects to webpage frequently.
Offers are not available.
Redirects for recharge.
App looks like other 3rd party apps.
Sometimes doesn't generate One Time Password.
Doesn't provide other basic features.
TT SCORE: 3.5/10
Launch: BSNL has been offering self care app since 3rd October 2013.
Downloads: As per Play Store data, this app crossed 10 lakhs downloads.
Updates: BSNL updates its app frequently to provide better user experience and the recent version is 1.13.1.
Accessing Charges: BSNL doesn't charge to access the app, making it free for users.
User interface in latest update is quite good.
They have added the option to buy fancy number from app; that's quite good.
VAS, Recharge, Usage menu also available on app drawer.
Multiple accounts can be added.
BSNL also provides profile section; after a successful recharge, they will notify to that number /mail id through SMS /Email.
Sometimes the app becomes slow.
Users also face OTP issues.
Doesn't show validity in a recharge menu.
Lacks customized offer section.
Sometimes it doesn't show any info; or that reason it hasn’t got many users in 2 years.
Lacks online chatting features.
TT score: 3/10
Operators should include the below services to make their apps more user centric:
Balance & Validity
STV balance & Validity
Dedicated accounts info.
Default rate info.
Current call rate info.
Secure recharge gateway.
Recharging facility for other numbers of same operator for friends & family.
VAS activation & deactivation feature.
Better user interface.
Turn on/off important feature like 3G, DND ,Call waiting, Call forwarding.
Online chat feature.
Dial care feature within app.
Recharge history & recharge mode.
Service request feature and tracking feature for those request features.
My Profile section with Name, Alt No., Mail id with edit features and Age on network , IMSI details.
PUK & PUK 2 information.
Data tracking features.
Based deals based on usage pattern.
Option to change password for that app.
We have tested the applications on latest version of Android with latest version of apps available in the store.
in case of any mistakes, so that it can be corrected after verifying. This comparison doesn’t involve any Financial/Money services provided by operators and is strictly confined to self care services. Views expressed here are strictly the writer’s personal opinion.
* Idea, MTS, Uninor do not have any self care app so they are not included.